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Showing posts from November, 2011

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree

Tomorrow's book is A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe.


This charming tale of an overgrown pine that was always passed over for Christmas, and what his woodland friends do to help him.
We will be doing two activities with this book. First, we will make sugar cookies in the shape of Christmas trees and then decorate them. Then we are going to take extra tree decorations and decorate our lone little pine tree that is in our backyard. It was our Christmas tree last year, and we planted it after Christmas was over. I think we will cover some pine cones with peanut butter and bird seed and add some suet bars, as well. That tree is a favorite of our local birds.

I will post pictures of all our activities from this week on our Weekly Wrap-up.

Snowmen at Christmas

Tomorrow's book is Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner.

Snowmen at Night shared with us the magical, slip-sliding adventures of snowmen after dark . . . but have you ever wondered what snowmen do for Christmas? Well, now’s your chance to find out! The snowmen are back, and this time they’re celebrating Christmas—the snowman way!
We will be making, and playing with, the ever-popular Snow Playdoh. It's easy to make and so fun to play with, making snowmen and other snowy creations.


Here is the link for how to make it. Have fun!

Snowbear's Christmas Countdown

It's time to start counting down the days until Christmas. One of our favorite activities for Christmas is the simple paper Christmas countdown chain. My kids love to wake up each morning to decide whose turn it is to tear off the chain. We keep it pretty simple. We use green and red construction paper (or two patterns of Christmas scrapbook paper if we have some), cut them into strips, and staple them together into a chain. The only link that is not a Christmas color is the one for December 22nd. That's Eli's birthday, so we always dazzle it up with birthday paper and ribbons.

Here is a picture of our Christmas chain from last year.


This week we will read the book Snowbear's Christmas Countdown by Theresa Smythe and make our countdown chain so it's ready for December 1st.

On the first day he wrote a list of all the presents he wanted Santa to bring him. Come celebrate with Snowbear as the days leading to Christmas fly by in merry preparation! December is full of jo…

Shopping List for Christmas Book Activities

Are you planning to join us in our journey through our planned Christmas Books and Activities? If you are, here is a list of the supplies you will need for the activities for the first six books (the first two weeks):
about four sheets of Christmas scrapbook paperfloursaltoilcream of tartarsilver and/or iridescent glitterwhite paper towelsred and white craft paintshaving creamwhite glueconstruction paper to make Christmas trees, snowmen, or foam onessugar cookies (either prepared or homemade)Christmas tree cookie cutterfrosting and cookie decorationspopsicle or craft stickshot glue gunWe will be making Christmas countdown chains, snow playdoh, paper towel poinsettias, shaving cream snow scenes, popsicle stick snowflakes, and will decorate Christmas tree sugar cookies.

We will be starting these projects on Tuesday. I'll post the specifics about the first activity on Monday. See you then!

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Yes, we had school!

We actually had a couple of days of school this week. We follow the public school calendar, because two of mine are still in public school. So we had school on Monday and Tuesday.

Of course I wanted our focus to be on Thanksgiving. But since we are going to see replicas of the Nina and Pinta next Monday, I wanted to throw in a little Columbus and ship study, too. So we did a little mash up.

Dawson finished watching The Andromeda Strain for Biology and answered questions about it. He sure thought that learning the effects of deadly viruses on ph balances and amino acids through a movie (albiet low-quality) was much better than just reading about it in a book! It was obvious from our question-answer discussion that he picked up some good stuff. On Monday we will actually be starting our first chapter on Energy. Our focus has been on cells and the patterns of life so we are ready to jump into our first major topic!

In addition to his Biology studies, Dawson plugged away at Algebra, Criti…

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Dream

Our Weekly Wrap-up is going to look a little different this week. We did normal schoolwork this week, but I thought I would share where our focus has been ...

This week we have been on a journey of Dreaming by exploring the Dream Exhibit by The Legacy Project.

The jumping point for our study was the book Dream by Susan Bosak.

Believe, Do, Think: This triad represents what author Susan Bosak calls the "core essence" of reaching for life dreams. It's based on social science research that has looked at how people achieve dreams and goals throughout their life. It has multiple meanings:
1) Pursuing a dream requires believing in it, acting upon it, and making strategic, thoughtful choices; 2) There must be a unity of spirit, body, and mind; 3) We need psychological and social qualities from all stages of life – childhood, young adulthood, and older adulthood – to succeed; 4) We also need to learn from the past (think), live fully in the present (do), and continue to build for…

HP TouchSmart 320 Giveaway

My son goes to public school and they use, extensively, a SmartBoard! The SmartBoard allows the teacher to pull up computer programs on a large screen and the kids can touch it to play it. It is so cool. It's almost creepy what all it can do.

Now there is an HP TouchSmart 320 that does basically the same thing. It look sooooo coooool and would be the most amazing homeschool tool!


Big Mama is giving one away on her blog. I have entered and you should, too! If you would like the chance to enter to win it, go to Big Mama's blog and register. Then read some of her posts. She is hilarious!

My Favorite Weeks of Homeschooling

I think if you break it down, we all have our own styles of homeschooling. Yes, there are technical names for a lot of them. But not all ways are established, published styles. I like to think I lean more toward a Charlotte Mason style in some ways, but I am certainly not hard-core. We also do a lot of classic work, like grammar, handwriting and creative writing, math, etc. We have a basic schedule and stick to it most days. When I looked at what makes us really tick, however, I see two things: Reading and Doing.

We have got to where we read (extensively) about every topic we study. We oftentimes translate what we read into a notebooking page of some sort, just to put our thoughts on paper. But a lot of times, we just discuss it.

When I look back on my favorite weeks of homeschooling, they have all definitely looked something like this (with an example).

I hear about a field trip opportunity. This week we will be going to the Tulsa Historical Society to see the Dream Exhibit as part of…

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ E is for Effort

We have had a great couple of weeks. The greatest thing has been the Effort that has been given by both Dawson and Brynne. We haven't gotten everything done that I have planned each week, but more times than not it's been because the two of them have gotten involved in something else that could arguably be considered educational. It's been a joy to see.

Dawson and I finished our Westward Unit from America: The Story of Us. We took six weeks to dig deep into this era so as to cover everything we could. The last two weeks he has been learning about The Trail of Tears, the invention of the Steamboat, Abe Lincoln's and we have read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I had never actually read it, so it was so much fun. Dawson said he really enjoyed it. I must say that I'm exhausted because it was a hoppin' book with the necessity to read in several different dialects. Sometimes I would have to take a break for us to do some other work and then come back to it. Tha…

Christmas Books and Activities

I can't even believe I am already writing this post!

Last year we participated in a Christmas Book and Activity a Day project with my friend Shannon at Peace, Love and Rainbows. It was so fun and really got us in the Christmas spirit.

I decided that this year we will do the same. We will do three books per week, with an activity attached to each.

Here are the first six books we will do. I have a general idea about activities, but will post the specifics of them later when I get them finalized.



Snowbear's Christmas Countdown byTheresa Smythe (make a countdown chain)












Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner (make shaving cream snowmen)











The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie de Paola (a poinsettia craft)












The Last Snow of Winter by Tony Johnston (make snow-doh)








A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe (christmas tree craft)










Santa's Snow Cat by Sue Stainton (a cat in a stocking?)











We will start the Monday after Thanksgiving. Join us if you'd like!

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Our local library had a fun event last night. They hosted a "Stuffed Animal Sleepover". The kids showed up in pj's for stories and songs. Then they left their stuffed animals at the library for a sleepover.




It was great that it was an evening event because Rick got to take Brynne. She had a great time, until it was time to leave Pup there. Then she started crying. Rick convinced her to go ahead an leave him, but at home she had a couple of breakdowns.


She was up bright and early this morning, ready to go pick him up. We went for preschool storytime and they were reunited.


Brynne received a packet of pictures from the evening, showing her everything that Pup and his friends did at their sleepover.





She has spent the majority of today posing several of her stuffed animals and taking pictures of them.